May 25

vSphere 6 Datacenter Design Cookbook – Ready for pre-Order!

The second revision of my book, VMware vSphere 6.X Datacenter Design Cookbook, is available for pre-order. If all goes as planned it should start shipping the end of July!

This revision includes the new features available in vSphere 6. The book covers the VMware Design Methodology and will provide a useful resource for Architects and Engineers preparing for the VMware Advance Design Certification.

VMware vSphere 6.X Datacenter Design Cookbook contains recipes for the design and implementation of vSphere technologies to support a virtual datacenter design including discovery of functional and non-functional requirements, forming the conceptual design, creating a logical design, applying the logical design to a physical design, and creating the final design documentation.

Available for pre-order on Amazon at VMware vSphere 6.X Datacenter Design Cookbook.

May 16

SimpliVity Effective Storage Capacity

The SimpliVity Data Virtualization Platform (DVP) deduplicates, compresses, and optimizes all data, at inception, once and forever, globally. When sizing a SimpliVity environment we take into account the capacity efficiency provided by the SimpliVity DVP, the effective capacity.

The ratio we use when sizing is a conservative 2.25:1. (1.5:1 Deduplication and 1.5:1 Compression). Our customers typically see much higher efficiency ratios, but we use this conservative ratio for sizing. This is due to the fact that some data may not deduplicate or compress well, for example rich media (video, images, etc). Even when primary data does not deduplicate or compress well the SimpliVity DVP still provides significant savings when it comes to backup and replication.

Here is the general formula I use when sizing for the SimpliVity DVP capacity efficiency:

( Production data + (production data * percent expected growth/100) ) / 2.25 efficiency

For example a customer with 125 TB of data and expected growth of 25%:

( 125 + ( 125 * 25/100 ) ) / 2.25 = ~69.44 TB

In this example I would ensure the SimpliVity environment provided sufficient storage capacity to support 69.44 TB of production data.

Easy enough but what does this look like when deployed in an actual customer environment (or do we see this efficiency for real – on production data).

Here is an example, from an actual customer environment, of SimpliVity DVP efficiency on PRIMARY PRODUCTION DATA:
In this case there is 128.79 TB production data in the environment. The environment consists of approximately 250 virtual machines running workloads including Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, File services, and a number of other application and Web services to support business operations. The physical storage footprint after SimpliVity’s inline deduplication and compression is 30.64 TB, an efficiency ratio of 5.1:1 (3.4:1 deduplication and 1.5:1 compression) before any backups. The capacity savings is 98.15 TB and the entire production environment is hosted on 4 SimpliVity OmniCubes (8 Rack Units!!!) providing N+1 availability for compute and storage.

Since SimpliVity deduplicates and compress data at inception this is also 98.15 TB of IO which was avoided. The real advantage of the SimpliVity DVP is the IO avoidance – not writing duplicate IO. There is approximately 98.15 TB of production data which did not have to be written to disk, a tremendous IO savings. This post is specific to capacity, to learn more about the advantages of IO avoidance SimpliVity provides you must unlearn what you have learned.
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May 14

Architecting EUC Solutions Delivered

Just received the copy of Architecting EUC Solutions by @bsuhr I ordered. No time to get into it this weekend but looking forward to reading it.

Full review once I am able give it a good look.

May 09

SimpliVity on HBO’s Silicon Valley

I don’t watch HBO’s Silicon Valley regularly (I am more into Fantasy/SCIFI – Game of Thrones FTW!!!). I have watched it a few times and it is funny, I just don’t watch it on a regular basis (more of a binge watch from time to time). Lately there has been some buzz about SimpliVity’s OmniCube being featured on the show.


Here is the preview for next week’s Silicon Valley Episode 4:

The SimpliVity OmniStack Accelerator Card makes its first on screen appearance (around 0:15 into the clip) in one of SimpliVity’s OmniCubes and it is clearly the breakout star of the episode.
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May 04

Handy vCenter Topology Script from virtuallyGhetto

Handy little script to generate a topology map (graph) of a vCenter and Platform Services Controller (PSC) deployment from virtuallyGhetto by @lamw.

Spun up a few vCenters and PSC in the lab to give it a try. In the lab there are two vCenter VCSAs each with embedded PSCs, in two different sites (LAB and LAB2), in the same SSO Domain. One site (LAB) has an External PSC.

Here is the graph generated by the script:


The vCenters and PSC were deployed with the IP address as the FQDN. I have not dug into it but I think this is why the vCenter with embedded PSC is not identified. Will do some more testing. Definitely a handy tool to have.

The script, installation, and usage instructions can be found here: Generating vCenter Server & Platform Services Controller deployment topology diagrams

May 02

Rapid VM Cloning Using SimpliVity’s REST API

The release of SimpliVity’s OmniStack 3.5 includes a number of great new features and functions which further expand the capabilities of the SimpliVity Data Virtualization Platform (DVP). One new feature which I am very excited about is the addition of a REST API. The SimpliVity REST API provides an easy way for administrators to create scripts for automating common tasks and reporting in a SimpliVity environment. The REST API also provides a path for third party software providers to integrate SimpliVity functionality into their monitoring and automation products.

This is the first GA release of the SimpliVity REST API. With this release an administrator can perform a number of operations on objects within the SimpliVity Federation including:

  • Virtual Machines – List, find, report, clone, and move
  • Backups – List, find, copy, and recover
  • Backup Policies – List, create, and edit
  • OmniStack Hosts – Reporting on health and capacity
  • Datastores – List, report, create, and delete

The SimpliVity REST API documentation can be accessed by pointing a browser to the management IP/FQDN to any OmniStack Virtual Controller (OVC) running in the OmniStack 3.5 environment: https://ovcmgmtip/api/index.html


SimpliVity REST API operations can also be performed directly from the OVC web interface.
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Apr 25

SimpliVity 3-2-1 Backups

The SimpliVity Data Virtualization Platform (DVP) provides native data protection including policy based backup, replication, and recovery. The backup policy engine and the backup catalog are part of the SimpliVity DVP. We are able to easily provide a data protection solution which aligns with a traditional and proven 3-2-1 Backup Strategy: 3 copies, 2 independent media sets, and 1 off-site copy.​

Here is an example of a simple SimpliVity backup policy:
In this policy there are two rules: the first rule creates a backup every 4 hours, retains the backup for 7 days, and stores the backup in the Raleigh Datacenter; the second rule creates a backup every 4 hours, retains the backup for 14 days, and stores the backup in the Tampa Datacenter. Each SimpliVity backup policy can be configured with up to 16 rules. So if we also wanted to take a backup every Sunday which we retain for 1 year, we can simply create another rule. If we want to replicate a monthly backup to another datacenter which we retain for 7 years, just create another rule. Backup policies are VM-centric, this allows for a policy to be applied directly to a VM based on that VM’s RPO.

So what happens when we take a SimpliVity backup and how can we claim to follow the 3-2-1 strategy?
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Apr 22

Book Review: IT Architect: Foundation in the Art of Infrastructure Design

Last week I ordered my copy of IT Architect: Foundation in the Art of Infrastructure Design.

The authors, John Arrasjid VCDX001 (@vcdx001), Mark Gabryjelski VCDX023 (@MarkGabbs), and Chris McCain VCDX017 (@hcmccain) have provided a fantastic book which can be used for reference, and as a guide, to developing an enterprise class datacenter infrastructure design. They also provide a tremendous amount of insight into the process of developing a design suitable for VCDX submission.

IT Architect: Foundation in the Art of Infrastructure Design is well written and an easy read. I read it cover to cover over a couple nights. I found myself marking multiple pages to refer back to. It is packed with a great deal of useful information for both the seasoned Architect and those who are looking to gain a bit more insight on the process for creating a high quality design. The book focuses on enterprise class, but the design process can easily be (and should be) applied to any size or type of datacenter design.
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Apr 19

Preparing Compute Nodes to Use SimpliVity DVP

With the efficiency SimpliVity’s Data Virtualization Platform (DVP) brings to data with accelerated inline deduplication, compression, and optimization SimpliVity customers often need to scale compute before they need to scale storage. As long as the SimpliVity environment is capable of providing the storage capacity and performance required the CPU and memory resources can be scaled out using what we call compute nodes. A compute node is simply a x86 server on VMware’s HCL which supports running ESXi. Compute nodes provide additional CPU and memory resources to the environment while consuming the SimpliVity DVP for storage. Using compute nodes is a native capability of the SimpliVty DVP and does not require any additional SimpliVity licensing.

Here is a conceptual diagram of a SimpliVity Datacenter leveraging a couple of HP DL360 Gen9 servers as compute nodes:

Another common deployment we see is for customers who have made an investment in blade servers, such as Cisco UCS B-Series environment. The blades can also be used as compute nodes with the SimpliVity DVP providing storage. This typically looks something like this for a UCS B-Series environment:

In both of these scenarios the SimpliVity datastores are presented to the compute nodes as NFS datastores.
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Apr 18

Raspberry Pi Project: Telescope Control and Imaging

A while back I did a post on using a Raspberry Pi to control my Celestron CG-5 mount with Stellarium. You can find that post here:

The Raspberry Pi mounted to my 80mm Stellarvue Scope with a solar filter for imaging the sun.

Since then I have been working on a self contained, wireless, Raspberry Pi which I could use to not only control the telescope but also capture images from the eyepiece and stream the images to a laptop.

I wanted to keep the project around $100 and make the device completely self-contained so I can potentially use it at astronomy outreach events.
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